Penny's latest series is a study of the fragility of the female form as well as a reflection on our self-acceptance as we age. She is motivated by the belief that we can embrace the change in our bodies no matter the form- small, large, young, old, healthy, frail, strong, weak- while allowing our eternal essence to shine through. Penny hopes to cast aside the superficial images of beauty portrayed by our culture and celebrate the precious, ephemeral moments of life.
Working with as many as 30 photographic prints at a time, Penny allows rainwater to fall gently onto each one, drop by drop. As the water spreads across the porous paper, it “paints” ethereal bursts and watercolor-like waves across the translucent figure. Some of the photographs she immerses in rain streaming from her tin roof or bathes them in fresh puddles until the ink surges, blending skin-tone pigments with vibrant indigo background hues. At various moments throughout the process, she photographs each rain-morphed print as it reaches its aesthetic peak: perhaps before it fades in the sun, or after several water droplets have re-drawn the figurative image, or just as the print is placed into a fresh puddle —moments before the gossamer image disappears or disintegrates. Each image is unique and original, and each is a fleeting figure caught in the tension between beauty and brevity, expressed in layered moments of color, water, and time.
Satori is defined as sudden enlightenment and a state of consciousness attained by natural illumination representing the spiritual goal of Zen Buddhism. Also, as a sudden inexpressible feeling of inner understanding known as the experience of kensho, “Seeing into one’s true nature.” Through living life’s painful experiences, one can appreciate the peaceful moments more fully. "As of late, I personally have been able to feel Satori again which allows me to see my true nature and create art in that beautiful, safe, sacred space. I am grateful for the dark so that I may see and express the light through my artwork.”
I was creating an abstract "self escape" piece when I was moved to add the orange and red tones, then tip the piece and allow the pigmented wax intermingle. I was almost hypnotized by the movement of the color and worked to maintain the swirling action, even in a stagnant piece.
I imagined celestial bodies and an endless universe full of amazing color and vastness. After I applied amber shellac, then lit the entire piece on fire, the creme brûlée-esque marks that appeared were suddenly reminiscent of the inside of human bodies, as well as celestial bodies.
I remembered a song by The Guess Who, called "She's Come Undun" and I listened to it over and over. I felt moved to name this series after the song and my process of following consciousness to accidentally create a reflection of the mystical universe and miraculous inner workings of the human body.